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Chapter 2

Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey

Beatriz Brena, Paula González-Pombo, and Francisco Batista-Viera

The term immobilized enzymes refers to “enzymes physically confined or localized in a certain defined
region of space with retention of their catalytic activities, and which can be used repeatedly and
Immobilized enzymes are currently the subject of considerable interest because of their advantages
over soluble enzymes. In addition to their use in industrial processes, the immobilization techniques are
the basis for making a number of biotechnology products with application in diagnostics, bioaffinity
chromatography, and biosensors. At the beginning, only immobilized single enzymes were used, after
1970s more complex systems including two-enzyme reactions with cofactor regeneration and living cells
were developed.
The enzymes can be attached to the support by interactions ranging from reversible physical adsorp-
tion and ionic linkages to stable covalent bonds. Although the choice of the most appropriate immobilization
technique depends on the nature of the enzyme and the carrier, in the last years the immobilization tech-
nology has increasingly become a matter of rational design.
As a consequence of enzyme immobilization, some properties such as catalytic activity or thermal
stability become altered. These effects have been demonstrated and exploited. The concept of stabilization
has been an important driving force for immobilizing enzymes. Moreover, true stabilization at the molecular
level has been demonstrated, e.g., proteins immobilized through multipoint covalent binding.

Key words Immobilized enzymes, Bioaffinity chromatography, Biosensors, Enzyme stabilization,

Immobilization methods

1 Background

Enzymes are biological catalysts that promote the transformation

of chemical species in living systems. These molecules, consisting
of thousands of atoms in precise arrangements, are able to catalyze
the multitude of different chemical reactions occurring in biologi-
cal cells. Their role in biological processes, in health and disease,
has been extensively investigated. They have also been a key com-
ponent in many ancient human activities, especially food processing,
well before their nature or function was known [1].

Jose M. Guisan (ed.), Immobilization of Enzymes and Cells: Third Edition, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1051,
DOI 10.1007/978-1-62703-550-7_2, © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

16 Beatriz Brena et al.

Table 1
Technological properties of immobilized enzyme systems [3]

Advantages Disadvantages
Catalyst reuse Loss or reduction in activity
Easier reactor operation Diffusional limitation
Easier product separation Additional cost
Wider choice of reactor

Enzymes have the ability to catalyze reactions under very mild

conditions with a very high degree of substrate specificity, thus
decreasing the formation of by-products. Among the reactions
catalyzed are a number of very complex chemical transformations
between biological macromolecules, which are not accessible to
ordinary methods of organic chemistry. This makes them very
interesting for biotechnological use. At the beginning of the twen-
tieth century, enzymes were shown to be responsible for fermenta-
tion processes and their structure and chemical composition started
to come under scrutiny [2]. The resulting knowledge leads to the
widespread technological use of biological catalysts in a variety of
other fields such as textile, pharmaceutical, and chemical indus-
tries. However, most enzymes are relatively unstable, their costs of
isolation are still high, and it is technically very difficult to recover
the active enzyme, when used in solution, from the reaction
mixture after use.
Enzymes can catalyze reactions in different states: as individual
molecules in solution, in aggregates with other entities, and as
attached to surfaces. The attached or “immobilized” state has been
of particular interest to those wishing to exploit them for technical
purposes. The term immobilized enzymes refers to “enzymes physi-
cally confined or localized in a certain defined region of space with
retention of their catalytic activities, and which can be used repeat-
edly and continuously” [3]. The introduction of immobilized
catalysts has, in some cases, greatly improved both the technical
performance of the industrial processes and their economy
(Table 1).
The first industrial use of immobilized enzymes was reported
in 1966 by Chibata and coworkers, who developed the immobili-
zation of Aspergillus oryzae aminoacylase for the resolution of syn-
thetic racemic D-L amino acids [4]. Other major applications of
immobilized enzymes are the industrial production of sugars,
amino acids, and pharmaceuticals (Table 2) [5]. In some industrial
processes, whole microbial cells containing the desired enzyme are
immobilized and used as catalysts [6].
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 17

Table 2
Major products obtained using immobilized enzymes [3, 5]

Enzyme Product
Glucose isomerase High-fructose corn syrup
Amino acid acylase Amino acid production
Penicillin acylase Semi-synthetic penicillins
Nitrile hydratase Acrylamide
β-Galactosidase Hydrolyzed lactose (whey)

Aside from the application in industrial processes, the immobi-

lization techniques are the basis for making a number of
biotechnology products with application in diagnostics, bioaffinity
chromatography, and biosensors [7, 8]. Therapeutic applications
are also foreseen, such as the use of enzymes in extra-corporeal
shunts [9].
In the past four decades, immobilization technology has devel-
oped rapidly and has increasingly become a matter of rational
design but there is still the need for further development [10].
Extension of the use of immobilized enzymes to other practical
processes will require both new methodologies and better under-
standing of those used at present.

2 History of Enzyme Immobilization

It is possible to visualize four steps in the development of immobi-

lized biocatalysts (Table 3). In the first step at the beginning of the
nineteenth century, immobilized microorganisms were being
employed industrially on an empirical basis. This was the case of
the microbial production of vinegar by letting alcohol-containing
solutions trickle over wood shavings overgrown with bacteria, and
that of the trickling filter or percolating process for waste water
clarification [11].
The modern history of enzyme immobilization goes back to
the late 1940s, but much of the early work was largely ignored for
biochemists since it was published in Journals of other disciplines
[12]. Since the pioneering work on immobilized enzymes in the
early 1960s, when the basis of the present technologies was devel-
oped, more than 10,000 papers and patents have been published
on this subject, indicating the considerable interest of the scientific
community and industry in this field [4]. In the second step, only
immobilized single enzymes were used but by the 1970s more
complex systems, including two-enzyme reactions with cofactor
18 Beatriz Brena et al.

Table 3
Steps in the development of immobilized enzymes [11, 14]

Step Date Use

First 1815 Empirical use in processes such as acetic acid and waste water treatment.
Second 1960s Single enzyme immobilization: production of L-amino acids,
isomerization of glucose, etc.
Third 1985–1995 Multiple enzyme immobilization including cofactor regeneration and
cell immobilization. Example: production of L-amino acids from
keto-acids in membrane reactors.
Fourth 1995 Ever-expanding multidisciplinary developments and applications to
to present different fields of research and industry.

regeneration and living cells were developed [13]. As an example

of the latter we can mention the production L-amino acids from
α-keto acids by stereoselective reductive amination with L-amino
acid dehydrogenase. The process involves the consumption of
NADH and regeneration of the coenzyme by coupling the amina-
tion with the enzymatic oxidation of formic acid to carbon dioxide
with concomitant reduction of NAD+ to NADH, in the reaction
catalyzed by the second enzyme, formate dehydrogenase. More
recently, in the last few decades, immobilized enzyme technology
has become a multidisciplinary field of research with applications
to clinical, industrial and environmental samples [14].
The major components of an immobilized enzyme system are:
the enzyme, the support and the mode of attachment of the
enzyme to the matrix. The term solid-phase, solid support, sup-
port, carrier, and matrix are used synonymously.

3 Choice of Supports

The characteristics of the matrix are of paramount importance in

determining the performance of the immobilized enzyme system.
Ideal support properties include physical resistance to compres-
sion, hydrophilicity, inertness towards enzymes, ease of derivatiza-
tion, bio-compatibility, resistance to microbial attack, and
availability at low cost [12–15]. However, even though immobili-
zation on solid supports is an established technology, there are still
no general rules for selecting the best support for a given
Supports can be classified as inorganic and organic, according
to their chemical composition (Table 4). The organic supports can
be subdivided into natural and synthetic polymers [16].
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 19

Table 4
Classification of supports

Natural polymers
• Polysaccharides: cellulose, dextrans, agar, agarose, chitin, alginate
• Proteins: collagen, albumin
• Carbon
Synthetic polymers
• Polystyrene
• Other polymers: polyacrylate, polymethacrylates, polyacrylamide,
polyamides, vinyl and allyl-polymers
Natural minerals
Bentonite, silica
Processed materials
Glass (non-porous and controlled pore), metals, controlled pore metal

The physical characteristics of the matrices (such as mean par-

ticle diameter, swelling behavior, mechanical strength, compres-
sion behavior) will be of major importance for the performance of
the immobilized systems and determine the type of reactor used
under technical conditions (i.e., stirred tank, fluidized, fixed beds).
In particular, pore parameters and particle size determine the total
surface area and thus critically affect the capacity for binding of
enzymes. Nonporous supports show few diffusional limitations
but have a low loading capacity. Therefore, porous supports are in
general preferred because the high surface area allows a higher
enzyme loading and the immobilized enzyme is more protected
from the environment. Porous supports should have a controlled
pore distribution in order to optimize capacity and flow proper-
ties. In spite of the many advantages of inorganic carriers (e.g.,
high stability against physical, chemical, and microbial degrada-
tion), most of the industrial applications are performed with
organic matrices. The hydrophilic character is one of the most
important factors determining the level of activity of an immobi-
lized enzyme [17].
Agarose is an excellent matrix which has been extensively used.
In addition to its high porosity which leads to a high capacity for
proteins, some other advantages of using agarose are hydrophilic
character, ease of derivatization, absence of charged groups (which
prevents nonspecific adsorption of substrate and products), and
20 Beatriz Brena et al.

commercial availability. However, an important limitation of aga-

rose and other porous supports is the high cost. An approach to
avoid this problem is the use of reversible methods of immobiliza-
tion that allow matrix regeneration and reuse.
In turn, macroporous acrylic polymers such as Eupergit® C
(Röhm, Darmstadt, Germany) and Sepabeads® EC (Resindion,
Milan, Italy), are suitable carriers for covalent immobilization of
enzymes for industrial applications, and are amongst the most
extensively studied matrixes [18–20].
Nanomaterials can serve as excellent support materials for
enzyme immobilization, offering ideal characteristics for balancing
the key factors that determine the efficiency of biocatalysts: surface
area, mass transfer resistance and effective enzyme loading [21,
22]. Nanotechnology has provided a wide variety of alternatives
for enzyme immobilization leading to potential applications in bio-
technology, immunosensing, and biomedical areas [23]. Recently,
enzymes immobilized to nanosized supports such as polymer
microspheres, fibers, tubes, as well as various metal and magnetic
nanoparticles have been reported [23–25].

4 Methods of Immobilization

In the last decades, thousands of protocols have been reported in

the literature [26–29] and various immobilization strategies can be
envisioned [30]. The enzymes can be attached to the support by
interactions ranging from reversible physical adsorption and ionic
linkages to stable covalent bonds. One way of classifying the
various approaches to immobilizing enzymes is in two broad catego-
ries: irreversible and reversible methods [31] (Fig. 1). The strength

Fig. 1 Schematic representation of the main different methods of enzyme immobilization (E enzyme)
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 21

Table 5
Advantages and disadvantages of the main enzyme immobilization methods

Methods and binding nature Advantages Disadvantages

Physical adsorption
Weak bonds: hydrophobic, Simple and cheap Desorption
Van der Waals or ionic Little conformational Nonspecific adsorption
interactions. change of the enzyme
Affinity bonds between two Simple and oriented High cost
affinity partners immobilization
Remarkable selectivity
Covalent binding
Chemical binding between No enzyme leakage Matrix and enzyme are not
functional groups of the Potential for enzyme regenerable
enzyme and support stabilization Major loss of activity
Occlusion of an enzyme within Wide applicability Mass transfer limitations
a polymeric network Enzyme leakage
Enzymes molecules are Biocatalyst stabilization Cross-linked biocatalysts are
cross-linked by a functional less useful for packed beds.
reactant Mass transfer limitations
Loss of activity

of the binding is usually inversely related to the ease with which it

can be reversed. These two conflicting objectives, stability, and
reversibility are difficult to fulfill simultaneously. The traditional
approach has been to make the bond as strong as possible and sac-
rifice reversibility.
In addition, immobilization methods are often classified by the
type of chemical reaction used for binding (Table 5). In some
cases, enzyme immobilization protocols are also based on the com-
bination of several immobilization methods. For example, an
enzyme can be pre-immobilized on beads by adsorption, affinity,
or covalent bonds before further entrapment in a porous polymer.
Each immobilization method presents advantages and draw-
backs (Table 5). The choice of the most appropriate technique also
depends on the nature of the enzyme (biochemical and kinetics
properties) and the carrier (chemical characteristics, mechanical
properties). So, the interaction between the enzyme and support
provides an immobilized enzyme with particular biochemical and
physicochemical properties that determine their applicability to
specific processes.
22 Beatriz Brena et al.

5 Methods of Irreversible Enzyme Immobilization

The concept of irreversible immobilization means that once the

biocatalyst is attached to the support, it cannot be detached with-
out destroying either the biological activity of the enzyme or the
support. The most common procedures of irreversible enzyme
immobilization are covalent coupling, entrapment or micro-
encapsulation, and cross-linking (Fig. 1).

5.1 Formation of Immobilization of proteins by methods based on the formation of

Covalent Bonds covalent bonds is among the most widely used. An advantage of
these methods is that, because of the stable nature of the bonds
formed between enzyme and matrix, the enzyme is not released
into the solution upon use. However, in order to achieve high lev-
els of bound activity, the amino acid residues essential for catalytic
activity must not be involved in the covalent linkage to the
support, and this may prove a difficult requirement to fulfill in
some cases. A simple procedure that sometimes improves the activ-
ity yield is to carry out the coupling reaction in the presence of
substrate analogues [32]. Covalent methods for immobilization
are employed when there is a strict requirement for the absence of
the enzyme in the product.
A wide variety of reactions have been developed depending on
the functional groups available on the matrix [33]. Coupling meth-
ods in general can be divided in two main classes: (1) activation of
the matrix by addition of a reactive function to a polymer; (2)
modification of the polymer backbone to produce an activated
group (Tables 6 and 7). The activation processes are generally
designed to generate electrophilic groups on the support which in
the coupling step react with the strong nucleophiles on the pro-
teins. The basic principles controlling the course of covalent
coupling to the matrices are analogous to those used for the
chemical modification of proteins. The most frequently used
reactions involve the following side chains of the amino acids:
lysine (ε-amino group), cysteine (thiol group), aspartic and glutamic
acids (carboxylic group).
There are many commercially available supports for immobili-
zation; the best choice in each case requires the consideration of
some relevant properties of the catalyst and the intended use.
However, it is usually necessary to try more than one approach and
then adapt a method to the specific circumstances [34].
The covalent reactions commonly employed give rise to
enzymes linked to the support through, e.g., amide, ether, thio-
ether, or carbamate bonds. Therefore, the enzyme is strongly
bound to the matrix and in many cases it is also stabilized, which
will be discussed later in Subheading 7. However, because of the
covalent nature of the bond, the matrix has to be discarded together
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 23

Table 6
Covalent coupling methods of enzymes: activation of matrix hydroxyl functions

Group that reacts (with

Activation method activated matrix) References
Tresyl chloride, sulfonyl chloride Thiol, amine [35]
Thiols, amines
0.1–1.0 sulfonyl Chlorides
Cyanogen bromide Amine [36]
Bis oxiranes (epoxides) Thiol, amine [37]
Epichlorohydrin Thiol, amine [37]
Glutaraldehyde Amine [37]
Glycidol-Glyoxyl Amine [38]
N-Hydroxy-succinimidyl Amine [39, 40]

Table 7
Covalent coupling methods of enzymes: modification of the polymer backbone to produce
an activated group

Group that reacts

Group Activated group (with activated
Polymer that reacts Reagent produced matrix) References
Cellulose Diol Periodate Aldehyde Amine [41]
Polyacrylamide Amide Hydrazine Hydrazide Amine [42]
Polyacrylamide Amide Acid pH Carboxylic acid Amine [42]
Polyester Ester Acid pH Carboxylic Amine [43]
acid + alcohol
Polyethylene CH2 Conc. Carboxylic acid Amine [44]
Nitric acid
Polystyrene Conc. Nitrated Histidine, [45, 46]
Nitric acid aromatic ring Tyrosine
Nylon Amide Hydrazine Hydrazide Amine [47]

with the enzyme once the enzymatic activity decays. The benefit of
obtaining a leak proof binding between enzyme and matrix result-
ing from these reactions could be partially offset by the cost, in
terms of generally low yield of immobilized activity and by the
nonreversible character of this binding. Enzymes attached cova-
lently by disulfide bonds to solid supports, represent one way to
avoid this problem, as will be described in Chapter 7.
24 Beatriz Brena et al.

5.2 Entrapment The entrapment method is based on the occlusion of an enzyme

and Cross-linking within a polymeric network that allows the substrate and products
to pass through but retains the enzyme [48]. This method differs
from the coupling methods described above, in that the enzyme is
not bound to the matrix or membrane. There are different
approaches to entrapping enzymes such as gel [49] or fiber entrap-
ping [50], and micro-encapsulation [51]. The practical use of these
methods is restricted by mass transfer limitations through mem-
branes or gels.
The more recently reported technique [52, 53] for immobili-
zation of enzymes as cross-linked enzyme aggregates (CLEAs®)
diverges slightly from the conventional immobilization methods.
CLEAs are based on multipoint attachment through intermolecu-
lar cross-linking between enzyme molecules. Successful prepara-
tion of CLEAs from a broad range of enzymes, including penicillin
acylases, lipases, laccases, and horseradish peroxidase is currently
being evaluated by many researchers [54].

6 Methods of Reversible Immobilization

Because of the type of the enzyme-support binding, reversibly

immobilized enzymes can be detached from the support under
gentle conditions. The use of reversible methods for enzyme
immobilization is highly attractive, mostly for economic reasons
simply because when the enzymatic activity decays the support can
be regenerated and re-loaded with fresh enzyme. Indeed, the cost
of the support is often a primary factor in the overall cost of immo-
bilized catalyst. The reversible immobilization of enzymes is par-
ticularly important for immobilizing labile enzymes and for
applications in bioanalytical systems [31].

6.1 Adsorption The simplest immobilization method is nonspecific adsorption

(Noncovalent which is mainly based on physical adsorption or ionic binding [55,
Interactions) 56]. In physical adsorption the enzymes are attached to the matrix
through hydrogen bonding, van der Waals forces, or hydrophobic
6.1.1 Nonspecific
interactions, whereas in ionic bonding the enzymes are bound
through salt linkages. The nature of the forces involved in nonco-
valent immobilization results in a process which can be reversed by
changing the conditions that influence the strength of the interac-
tion (pH, ionic strength, temperature, or polarity of the solvent).
Immobilization by adsorption is a mild, easy to perform process,
and usually preserves the catalytic activity of the enzyme. Such
methods are therefore economically attractive, but may suffer from
problems such as enzyme leakage from matrix when the interactions
are relatively weak.
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 25

6.1.2 Ionic Binding An obvious approach to the reversible immobilization of enzymes

is to base the protein-ligand interactions on principles used in
chromatography. For example, one of the first applications of chro-
matographic principles in the reversible immobilization of enzymes
was the use of ion-exchangers [4, 57, 58]. The method is simple
and reversible but, in general, it is difficult to find conditions under
which the enzyme remains both strongly bound and fully active.
More recently, the use of immobilized polymeric ionic ligands has
allowed to modulate the interactions between protein and matrix
and thus to optimize the properties of the derivative. A number of
patents have been filed on the use of polyethyleneimine to bind a
rich variety of enzymes and whole cells [59].
However, problems may arise from the use of a highly charged
support when the substrates or products are themselves charged;
the kinetics are distorted due to partition or diffusion phenomena.
Therefore, enzyme properties such as its optimum pH or the pH
stability range may change [60, 61]. Although this could be a
problem it can also be useful to shift the optimal conditions of a
certain enzyme towards more alkaline or acidic conditions, depend-
ing on the application [62].

6.1.3 Hydrophobic Another approach is the use of hydrophobic interactions. In this

Adsorption method, it is not the formation of chemical bonds but rather an
entropically driven interaction that takes place. Hydrophobic
adsorption has been used as a chromatographic principle for more
than three decades. It relies on well-known experimental variables
such as pH, salt concentration, and temperature [63]. The strength
of interaction relies both on the hydrophobicity of the adsorbent
and that of the protein. The hydrophobicity of the adsorbent can
be regulated by the degree of substitution of the support and by
the size of the hydrophobic ligand molecule. The successful revers-
ible immobilization of β-amylase and amyloglucosidase to hexyl-
agarose carriers has been reported [64, 65]. Several other examples
of strong reversible binding to hydrophobic adsorbents have also
been reported [66–68].

6.1.4 Affinity Binding The principle of affinity between complementary biomolecules has
been applied to enzyme immobilization. The remarkable selectiv-
ity of the interaction is a major benefit of the method. However,
the procedure often requires the covalent binding of a costly affin-
ity ligand (e.g., antibody or lectin) to the matrix [69].

6.2 Chelation Transition metal salts or hydroxides deposited on the surface of

or Metal Binding organic carriers become bound by coordination with nucleophilic
groups on the matrix. Mainly titanium and zirconium salts have
been used and the method is known as “metal link immobilization”
[16, 70, 71]. The metal salt or hydroxide is precipitated onto the
support (e.g., cellulose, chitin, alginic acid, silica-based carriers) by
26 Beatriz Brena et al.

heating or neutralization. Because of steric factors, it is impossible

for the matrix to occupy all coordination positions of the metal,
and therefore some of the positions remain free to coordinate with
groups from the enzymes. The method is quite simple and the
immobilized specific activities obtained with enzymes in this way
have been relatively high (30–80 %) However, the operational sta-
bilities achieved are highly variable and the results are not easily
reproducible. The reason for this lack of reproducibility is probably
related to the existence of nonuniform adsorption sites and to a
significant metal ion leakage from the support. In order to improve
the control of the formation of the adsorption sites, chelator
ligands can be immobilized on the solid supports by means of sta-
ble covalent bonds. The metal ions are then bound by coordina-
tion, and the stable complexes formed can be used for the retention
of proteins. Elution of the bound proteins can be easily achieved
by competition with soluble ligands or by decreasing pH. The sup-
port is subsequently regenerated by washing with a strong chelator
such as EDTA (ethylene diamino tetraacetic acid disodium salt)
when desired. These metal chelated supports were named IMA
(Immobilized Metal-Ion Affinity)-adsorbents and have been used
extensively in protein chromatography [72, 73]. The approach of
using different IMA-gels as supports for enzyme immobilization
has been studied using E. coli β-galactosidase as a model [74].

6.3 Formation These methods are unique because, even though a stable covalent
of Disulfide Bonds bond is formed between matrix and enzyme, this bond can be bro-
ken by reaction with a suitable agent such as dithiothreitol (DTT)
under mild conditions. Additionally, since the reactivity of the thiol
groups can be modulated by changing the pH, the activity yield of
the methods involving disulfide bond formation is usually high,
provided that an appropriate thiol-reactive adsorbent with high
specificity is used [75]. Immobilization methods based on this
strategy are discussed in Chapter 7.

7 Properties of Immobilized Enzymes

The properties of immobilized enzymes are determined by the

characteristics of carrier material as well as by the nature and number
of interactions between the enzyme and the support. As a conse-
quence of enzyme immobilization, the stability and kinetic
properties of enzymes are usually changed, mostly due to the
microenvironment and modifications imposed by the supporting
matrix [11, 76].
This modification in the properties may be caused either by
changes in the intrinsic activity of the immobilized enzyme or by
the fact that the interaction between the immobilized enzyme and
the substrate takes place in a micro-environment that is different
from the bulk solution. So, one of the main problems associated
Immobilization of Enzymes: A Literature Survey 27

with the use of immobilized enzymes is the loss of catalytic activity,

especially when the enzymes are acting on macromolecular
substrates. Because of the limited access of the substrate to the
active site of the enzyme, the activity may be reduced to accessible
surface groups of the substrate only. This steric restriction may in
turn, change the characteristic pattern of products derived from
the macromolecular substrate [77]. There are several strategies to
avoid these steric problems such as: the selection of supports
composed by networks of isolated macromolecular chains, the
careful choice of the enzyme residues involved in the immobiliza-
tion, and the use of hydrophilic and inert spacer arms [78].
The observed changes in the catalytic properties upon immo-
bilization may also be due to changes in the three-dimensional
conformation of the protein provoked by the binding of the
enzyme to the matrix. These effects have been demonstrated and,
to a lesser extent exploited for a limited number of enzyme systems.
Quite often, when an enzyme is immobilized, its operational sta-
bility at higher temperature and in the presence of organic solvents
is highly improved [79]. The concept of stabilization has thus been
an important driving force for immobilizing enzymes. True stabi-
lization at the molecular level has been demonstrated, such as the
case of proteins immobilized through multipoint covalent binding
[80]. Studies carried out by several authors using different meth-
ods have demonstrated that there is a correlation between stabili-
zation and the number of covalent bonds to the matrix [81–83].

8 Enzyme Immobilization Mimics Biology

Although the science of enzyme immobilization has developed as

a consequence of its technical utility, one should recognize that the
advantages of having enzymes attached to surfaces have been
exploited by living cells as long as life existed. An inquiry into the
biological role of enzyme immobilization may provide some les-
sons for the biotechnologists and serve as a second point of depar-
ture, in addition to the purely chemical one. In fact, there is
experimental evidence that the immobilized state might be the
most common one for enzymes in their natural environment. In an
attempt to mimic biology, co-immobilization of a number of
sequential or cooperating biocatalysts on the same support has
been used as a strategy to improve stability and enhance reaction
kinetics [84]. The attachment of enzymes to the appropriate
surface ensures that they stay at the site where their activity is
required. This immobilization enhances the concentration at the
proper location, and it may also protect the enzyme from being
destroyed. Numerous bi-enzyme systems have been reported; a
remarkable example is the co-immobilization of peroxidase and
glucose oxidase onto carbon nanotubes to be used as a glucose
biosensor [85, 86].
28 Beatriz Brena et al.

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